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Natural Awakenings Atlanta


by Diane Eaton

Vertebral subluxation.” If you’ve heard the term, you’ve probably seen a chiropractor.

Detecting and correcting vertebral subluxation—misalignments of vertebrae in the spine—has been the focal point of chiropractic care since the practice was invented more than 100 years ago. The idea being: if the vertebrae are reset sufficiently, the associated pain and functional loss can be reduced.

But two of Atlanta’s chiropractic care physicians have adopted advances in technology along with more holistic perspectives of the body in order to get better results than their more traditional counterparts.

Snubbing the push-pull-and-pop approach that chiropractic is famous for, their adjustments are ostensibly more precise and can benefit the patient’s health more significantly.

A Top-Down Approach

Dr. Randy Culig, founder of Pierce Chiropractic in Atlanta, believes that the cervical spine—the seven bones in the neck—is the key to chiropractic correction and the resulting improvements in health and wellness.

“Approximately 74% of low back pain surgeries are considered unsuccessful,” says Culig, a cervical spine specialist. “Why? If the problem isn’t coming from the lower back but originates in the cervical spine, then any back surgery is only correcting the compensation of the problem—not the problem itself.”

The cervical spine is by far the most movable area of the spine, which makes it the most prone to injury. The rest of the body tends to adapt to whatever’s going on in the cervical spine.

 “The cervical spine has the most intricate structure,” says Culig. “The vertebral artery runs through it and supplies 11 out of the 12 cranial nerves. That’s why we see a lot of patients with things related to the cranial nerves: the blood supply can often be inhibited due to misalignment to the cervical spine.”

 “When the cervical spine is out, it tends to bring the skull off balance, which then tends to throw off your entire center of gravity. So, we see a lot of conditions, including sciatica, numbness in the foot or hip pain that all tend to stem from the cervical spine.”

The staff at Pierce Chiropractic use several diagnostic tools to get a more precise understanding of a patient’s condition. They use thermography to provide insights about blood flow, which in turn tells them about the patient’s side-to-side symmetry. Then, with the help of X-rays and precision 3D imaging, they get a mathematical equation that calculates the exact vector in the neck that needs to be adjusted in the patient.

“We know the specific vector,” says Culig, “and we leverage the area correctly. When it comes time to do the adjustment, it feels like nothing more than a tap behind the ear.”

Not a Bone-Out-of-Place Model

“The bone-out-of-place view is a mechanistic approach that’s like fixing your car,” says Dr. Russell Friedman, the senior physician at AlternaHealth in Sandy Springs. “But we’re not just cars that get dented. People are a whole system that responds with a nervous system and life force, and the body tries to compensate and create balance so it can be energetically sound.”

Gravity is the largest stressor on the human body, says Friedman, yet the “bone-out-of-place” model of traditional chiropractic treatment doesn’t account for it. “Posture. It uses more energy to stand up against gravity and it takes more neurological wiring and more structural integration into the fascia and bony system to integrate it” than any other system.

 “We’re wired something like a puppet, with the string at the top,” says Friedman, who is board-certified in QSM3, NUCCA, and Orthospinology.

That top string is found in the cervical spine—the only place one can access “all the rubber bands, all three dimensions—anterior, posterior, up and down and side to side,” says Friedman. “All the lines from the pelvis come up through the chest, the back, the shoulders, all the way around three dimensionally and up.”

With their QSM3 technology, AlternaHealth can read the body’s weight differential from side to side, the “tilt” or “lean” of certain areas, and the “twist” of the body—the way the body is energetically holding itself. The data accounts for damage done to the body, its orientation and the way it is or has been breaking down energetically.

Friedman says the equipment allows him to get insights about the configuration of the body and how it’s responding energetically. “I can look in real-time—live—and watch the body as it oscillates. I look at the energy of the human body, and then I have what I need to restore the structure.”

The goal is tensegrity—a term that alludes to the balance and uplift of a well-filled balloon. “When you open the nervous system and expand the cells of the body,” says Friedman, “the human body reacts. The majority of my patients get a reset.”

Find out more about Pierce Chiropractic Center at and AlternaHealth Solutions at
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